On their seventh album, the Cowboy Junkies hitch their pony to producer John Leckie (Radiohead, Verve) and inch closer toward the mainstream. As a result, Miles from Our Home's title track might be the group's most upbeat ... more »and infectious song ever. Unfortunately, it also means Miles is frequently too pretty and pleasant for its own good. Think more Sarah McLachlan, less Velvet Underground. Still, gloom reigns supreme. The atmospheric "Blue Guitar" and, presumably, the slow, shattered "At the End of the Rainbow" (a hidden track) mourn the late singer/songwriter and Junkie hero Townes Van Zandt. "Those Final Feet," a lilting, Band-like tune, marks the passing of the 94-year-old grandfather of the Timmins siblings, who comprise three fourths of the band. Translated through Margo Timmins's endlessly haunting vocals, such sentiments keep the Cowboy Junkies' cloudy mystique alive. --Neal Weiss« less
On their seventh album, the Cowboy Junkies hitch their pony to producer John Leckie (Radiohead, Verve) and inch closer toward the mainstream. As a result, Miles from Our Home's title track might be the group's most upbeat and infectious song ever. Unfortunately, it also means Miles is frequently too pretty and pleasant for its own good. Think more Sarah McLachlan, less Velvet Underground. Still, gloom reigns supreme. The atmospheric "Blue Guitar" and, presumably, the slow, shattered "At the End of the Rainbow" (a hidden track) mourn the late singer/songwriter and Junkie hero Townes Van Zandt. "Those Final Feet," a lilting, Band-like tune, marks the passing of the 94-year-old grandfather of the Timmins siblings, who comprise three fourths of the band. Translated through Margo Timmins's endlessly haunting vocals, such sentiments keep the Cowboy Junkies' cloudy mystique alive. --Neal Weiss
"As a big Cowboy Junkies fan, I certainly agree that this album is a bit of a departure for the band. Influences by Townes Van Zandt, the band has always been a country-blues-rock band with quiet, gloomy and laid back rhythms and movements. Miles From Our Home puts much more emphasis on the rock and electric guitar than their past six or so albums, and may be a bit of a disapointment for fans raised and weaned on The Trinity Session through Lay it Down.But there's really nothing wrong with this new style. Margo Timmins' voice is as strong as ever, although a bit more up tempo and upbeat. It sounds more like early October than late November if you ignore the seasonal metaphor. The lyrics are as cynical as ever, and the songs are certainly as good as any that the band has produced. "New Dawn Coming","Miles From Our Home","Good Friday" & "Darkling Days" are some of the best songs the CJ have ever recorded, and there's the usual tribute to Townes Van Zandt with "Blue Guitar." I suppose if you were expecting the band to produce an exact replica of "Lay it Down" then you may be disapointed by this album. But if you've been a Cowboy Junkies fan for years and own all of their albums like I do, then you'll welcome this slight departure and change. I don't care if its not what you were expecting...its STILL one of the bands strongest albums. I, for one, listened to nothing but this album for a week straight. Heck, maybe the band NEEDED or WANTED to do something a little different. Its not like they put out a speed metal album or anything..."
Diehard Fans are Way Too Hard on this Release!!
Batmanbrb | Seymour, IN United States | 06/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most Junkies' fans think "Trinity Sessions" was their best release, (I disagree - I think "Lay It Down" is their best) and most Junkies' fans think that with "Miles from our Home" that the Cowboy Junkies changed their sound too much and are playing music too loud and too hard. Well, granted, they DO shine the best with their acoustic ballads, but this CD isn't all that bad!! I actually was IMPRESSED that they could play this kind of music and it works!! While there are a few songs on this release that I don't listen to much, there are quite a few songs on this disc that are some of my all-time favorite Cowboy Junkie songs. "Miles from our Home" was probably a good single to release to radio, it's ok, but the 5-star songs are "Hollow as a Bone" and "Summer of Discontent". "No Birds Today", "Those Final Feet", and "Blue Guitar" are also excellent songs. Man, the piano in "Those Final Feet" is breath-takingly beautiful - wish they made sheet music for it so I could play it!! Yes, this release is a harder-sounding Cowboy Junkies (and let's face it, I'm sure GEFFEN RECORDS were putting pressure on CJ to make a release that was going to sell!), but they are such incredibly talented artists that they pull it off spendidly. This disc is worth buying even though I only listen to about half of the songs, but those half are very awesome!!"
A different style that works
William S. Beck | Sacramento, Ca. United States | 12/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album differs from other Cowboy Junkies works in that musically it is much popier. It is far from mainstream pop in that the lyrics are some of their best yet, this is stuff you can think about. The music has a sharper edge than their previous works, but it is clean and interesting. The Cowboy Junkies had to grow and diversify, this album shows their wings starting to truly stretch."
The titles are indicative of the content
KCCjr | Chelmsford, MA | 01/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure what the lamenting about the Cowboy Junkies exploring new territory is about, I frankly embrace the changes and continue to adore the previous material and live concerts. The "Miles From Our Home" album is a nice, more upbeat change adding variety to their repetoire. "Blue Guitar" is an aural dream which foreshadows the almost psychadelic trips the band makes in concert. I also enjoy the third and fourth tracks a great deal. If one wants to really experience the craftsmanship of the band, see them live or listen to their recent live recordings. Michael Timmins guitar work stands out superbly and Margo's vocals are wonderful. The rest of the band is outstanding, too. Check out their website for worthy titles not available elsewhere which are fully supported by the band."
Like a cooling splash of witch hazel
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 01/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whether this new sound is attributed to the influence of producer John Leckie or a desire by the Cowboy Junkie matters not a whit to me. I happen to like this rather astringent style, which is not to say there is anything wrong with the group's minimalist soundscapes typical of earlier recording. Margo Timmins' haunting voice seems to float in songs such as "Good Friday" or "Hollow as Bone." But her delivery on the cynical "Someone Out There"---a lament to a god who has forsaken humanity---proves disconcerting (as it should). Songwriter and lead guitarist Michael Timmins has delivered a stout set of tunes, and his guitar work is stellar and inspired throughout the CD, though when paired with some gritty keyboards the sound really swells. That songs such as the title track and "The Summer of Discontent" failed to grabbed the attention FM programmers shows what a disgraceful state radio has lapsed into under the reign of the corporate suits and consultants. For as much as I like this CD, I still find some tracks, particularly "Those Final Feet," a dirge about the death of Timmon's Grandfather, too painfully private to listen to on some days. Try to accept this CD on its own terms instead of condemning it as lamentable break in the Cowboy's Junkies legacy."